I want you!

Normally, I would be using this feature to talk about the brilliant job our researcher, Libbie Griffin, did on the American Cruise Lines executive contacts.

Or, I would be telling you about how our incredible research team found information they weren’t supposed to, like the cell phone number for a VP.

But today is no normal day.
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Lookit what the stork delivered – a baby forum!


I’m incredibly excited to share the good news with you today. We’ve launched a new forum that’s designed to help you have a better consumer experience.

She’s still a baby, so please go easy on her.

If you want to post a question, you’ll have to register using WordPress (it’s very easy) but by this afternoon, you should be able to authenticate through the major social networks, too.

The purpose of these forums is simple: Like this site, it’s all about helping people. We have a group of dedicated experts who have agreed to monitor the questions and assist consumers with quick, practical answers. I’ll be there, too, of course.

I’ve divided the forum into several categories — a help desk for complaints, a soapbox for folks who want to sound off about a story, the inside track to help consumers with company contact information, and a suggestions box.

Please jump in and post your comments and feedback. Let me know if I’ve missed any categories or if you can think of a better way to divide the topics. I’m open to any suggestions.

The same rules of behavior apply to the forums as for the comments, so please be nice to each other.

As many of you know, I’ve resisted the idea of starting a forum for many years, largely because the other travel forums (I will not mention names) have become cesspools of toxic rhetoric.

What made me change my mind? I think we have the best team of moderators in the business, and there’s a real need for a forum that does things differently. I hope we can meet those standards.

With your help, I believe we will.

New on the wiki: hotel industry contacts

Before I get into today’s post, a word or two about On Your Side. A few readers have concluded that this is a travel site — and with good reason. After all, the wiki only contains the names and numbers of travel companies.

Today’s addition of hotel contacts is unlikely to change that perception.

Just wait. With the completion of the hotel database, we’ll be moving on to other industries. My goal is to bring On Your Side wiki categories to every major business. Whether you’re buying a car or a cell phone, I want to be sure you know who to get in touch with when you run into problems.
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New Priceline mapping application helps you pinpoint hotel deals

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Priceline this morning launched a new application called Price Maps, a service that lets you scroll over city maps to find the cheapest rates. If you’re looking for a bargain on your next hotel, this might be an interesting new resource.

I’ve been playing around with the maps, and they definitely add another dimension to the hotel shopping experience.
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Introducing the Consumer Travel Alliance: your voice in Washington

The airlines industry spent $31 million lobbying Congress last year. The hotel industry plunked down $8 million and the cruise industry dropped more than $6 million on lobbying. How much did travelers spend to get their voices heard in Washington? Nothing.

That’s about to change.

A new tax-exempt organization called the Consumer Travel Alliance promises to tilt the balance in your favor. (I’ve been invited to join the group as a board member and ombudsman.)

But we need your help.

Please tell us which travel issues should be urgently addressed.

Click here to complete a brief travel survey.

We’ll be asking your for input on how we can best launch our membership drive and what kinds of cutting-edge products you feel would most useful, that can be added to our membership package.

Click here to complete the survey.

And we’re looking for a group of charter members willing to join now to help our start-up efforts in Washington. Please join our exclusive focus group, where we can swap ideas for how to make the travel industry a better place.

Join the Consumer Travel Alliance Charter Focus Group
Email:
Visit this group

Click here to visit ConsumerTravelAlliance.org.

Got question about the CTA? Send us an email.